Skip to main content

CBR4 #42: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Oh, Stephen King. I love your work so much, but there are times when I wonder if you're worth it.

Dreamcatcher is not an utterly terrible book. It is not nearly as painfully dull as The Tommyknockers, but it is not good either. While it has its moments, there is also a lot of unnecessarily gross gore, and the plot is...not good.

The book is the story of four friends--Henry, Pete, Jonesy, and Beaver--who come together once a year at a remote hunting cabin to spend time together and celebrate their childhood friendship. Although they've grown apart, they are also bonded by more than just the times they spent together as kids--they have a fifth friend, Duddits, who is very, very special. Although Duddits appears to be just a man with Down's syndrome, he is actually a LOT more. While the group are spending time out in the woods, a man wanders into their camp, displaying some very odd symptoms. Pretty soon, the four find themselves involved in a situation that could have effects the world over...a situation that their friendship with Duddits may somehow have prepared them for.

Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn't it? Well, start throwing in alien fuzz, and ass weasels, and an entity called Mr. Grey, and things start going off the rails. Then add a batshit crazy army colonel bent on hiding the truth at any cost. It starts to spiral out of control pretty quickly.

The characters are pretty likable, which is what saves the book from being irredeemable. Jonesy's lonely battle against Mr. Grey is one of the strongest parts of the tale, and I also enjoyed the brief glimpses of their childhood times together. Each of the friends is well-defined, and I had no trouble identifying with them or rooting for them. Some of the secondary characters are less effective, though I liked what little we saw of Duddits's mother.

The movie is not great either, though the performances are about as good as possible. Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Timothy Olyphant (Olyphantastic!), and Damien Lewis star as the four friends, and Lewis's creepy turn as Jonesy is pretty cool. Morgan Freeman and his eyebrows chew every available piece of scenery as he romps and stomps in the role of the crazy colonel, while Tom Sizemore plays it cool as the colonel's assistant. There's also an interesting performance from Donnie Wahlberg (or as I like to call him "The-more-talented-but-not-as-attractive-Wahlberg") as adult Duddits. However, ass weasels are something that never needed to make it to film, and the plot is a bit too jumbled to really translate well. Much like the book, the movie is not exactly terrible, but I wouldn't necessarily call it good either.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CR3 #30: The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith

I saw the movie of The First Wives Club before I read the book. It's a cute chick flick, in which scorned women take comedic revenge on their former spouses. They become better friends and everyone winds up happy in the end. I was somewhat surprised (though not much--the differences between film and literature are often wide) at how different the book was--I am used to changes in plot or small character changes (combining two characters into one, or perhaps changing to a more pleasant ending) but the major change here between novel and movie was the tone.

The story is basically the same; After a close friend's suicide, three middle-aged female friends get together and beginning reviewing their lives. They realize that much like their late friend, they have been screwed over by the men in their lives--the men used them to get to their high social and financial positions, then screwed them over both personally and financially. The three women decide to use their wits and their co…

CBR9 #6: Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto by Florine Stettheimer

I love traveling alone, and one of the things I like to do on my trips is go to museums. I just dig learning things I didn't know, I guess. The problem--when it comes to cities I've visited before--is that I have often already seen the better-known museums. And when it comes to New York City, I've worked my way through MOMA, the Met, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, and several of the other most well-known institutions. So this last time I visited, I decided to branch out and visit a couple I'd never heard of before.

One of the three museums I visited on my last trip was The Jewish Museum of New York City. Now before you ask, I'm not Jewish. But like I said, I enjoy learning things, and this museum just happened to be near the location of a theater where I was going to be seeing a show in the afternoon.

It was a Friday afternoon in August, and when I arrived, I was informed that due to renovations, only one exhibit would be open. I was disappointed, b…